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University of Virginia, School of Medicine

Fertilization Discovery: Do Sperm Carry Tiny Harpoons? 

Fertilization Discovery: Do Sperm Carry Tiny Harpoons?


Spiky Filaments Identified That May Play Key Role in Sperm-Egg Fusion


Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That’s the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, suggesting that these tiny filaments may lash together the sperm and its target.


The finding, 14 years in the making, has earned the cover of the scientific journal Andrology. It represents a significant step forward in the fine dissection of the protein architecture of the sperm’s acrosomal matrix, an organelle in the sperm head, and suggests a new hypothesis concerning what happens during fertilization.



Harry Moxley, Producer/Director/DP/Editor




Original Videography


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